19 September 2011

Meanwhile, back in Saint-Aignan

The season is definitely autumn back here in Saint-Aignan. In the vineyard, most of the grapes have been taken in. Only a few parcels of vines still have red-wine grapes hanging on them. Ninety-five percent of the white-wine grapes have been harvested. It's raining hard outside as I write this on Sunday night.

Grapes in the Renaudière vineyard near
Saint-Aignan in mid-September

All our tomatoes are harvested too. The weather suddenly turned chilly and damp over the weekend. Besides, all the wet weather we've had over the past few weeks caused a major weed invasion out in the garden. Low-hanging tomatoes don't enjoy the dark, chilly, damp conditions that high weeds create, so it was time to bring them in.

Me taking a bite out of an apple

Next it will be the apples. There's no shortage of those — the ground is covered with them. The compost bins are already full. I eat two or three apples every time I take the dog out for a walk.

I think we are having an early fall. Maybe we'll get
belle arrière-saison — Indian Summer.

According to the calendar, summer ends officially on Wednesday. My assessment of the 2011 season? Too dry in the spring, especially April and May. Too wet in July and, especially, August. In the garden, the tomatoes did okay, considering. After a good start, the red bell peppers didn't enjoy the moisture of August and September. The summer squash quit producing early. We didn't get much sweet corn, and we didn't get many aubergines/eggplants. I need to go out and see if the lima bean pods have filled out, or if those are a bust.

The last of the grapes for 2011

The best summer we've had since we lived here was 2005, which made for the best garden. We can always hope for a good 2012. Où il y a de la vie, il y a de l'espoir.


  1. Ah, the life of a gardener, I know exactly how you feel! Too bad about the sweet corn, I was looking forward to your having a bumper crop of it to enjoy.


  2. Hope you have a great 2012. Don't the seasons turnaround quickly these days?
    Here in Melbourne spring is bringing out our purples and whites in the garden. Thought I might post on the spring growth but realised we have done this two times previously. There, that proves the seasons revolve too quickly for my liking.

  3. It's true about hope and life, but sometimes I think of the saying that gardening is the triumph of optimism over experience!

    But I am not a pessimist by nature and hope for a wonderful 2012 for everyone's garden.

  4. We are back in Sudbury enjoying delicious end of season sweet corn as well as many vegetables, especially the root ones, from the coop at the Audubon Society over in Lincoln we joined last year. Not real gardeners ourselves, I am an admirer of those who are, and your garden, Ken and Walt, qualifies as a very ambitious one.

    The apples and peaches are coming in at the local orchards here in Massachusetts. We ventured over to Honey Pot Hill Orchard in Stow yesterday as the apple picking is in high gear.

    We've had a real touch of fall these past few days, with night time temps dropping to around 40F.

  5. Bob F, you're in Massachusetts? I'm originally from Northampton, and my sister lives in Boston :) Love the locally-grown way of life out there!

    Ken, today on Rick Steves' "Travels in Europe" he was in Rouen and it made me think immediately of you :)


  6. Your compost bin was nearly full of apples when we were there and your trees were still loaded. This may have been the year of the apple and pear;)

    Here in my little garden it was the year of the zinnia- they grew as tall as sunflowers and totally ruled. I finally pulled them all up yesterday, so that my last pepper and eggplant could take a deep breath.

  7. Ken

    We had to put the heat on last week. This week we are back (hopefully) to the normal temperatures from 18C to 23C.

    Those grapes look yummy but I guess they are not table grapes.

  8. I will hope along with you for a good 2012. Hard to imagine summer being amost over as it's around 30C here right now... and this is a cool day. I can just taste that apple!

  9. Do you guys ever sneak out and help yourselves to some grapes?

  10. Starman, can I say... almost never...?

  11. Because we were going to be traveling for two months, we did not bother with a garden this year except for herbs, most of which came back on their own from last year. Had we planted a garden, the severe drought would have destroyed it. We even lost most of our azaleas despite the sprinkler system. We are starting to wonder why we live in Texas!



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